Generally, Oklahoma divorce proceedings cover:
- Physical custody of minor children
- Legal custody of the minor children
- Visitation of minor children
- Payment and collection of child support
- Allocation of marital assets
- Division of marital debt
Large estates require additional litigation due to the division of the assets, determination of separate property, and increase in value of the marital estate during the marriage.
Paternity proceedings are very similar to divorce proceedings, but since the parties were never married, there is no marital estate to divide with regard to assets and debts. Accordingly, paternity proceedings are primarily limited to:
- the legal determination of the father (either by admission or by DNA testing),
- the legal and physical custody of the minor children, and
- the payment of child support.
Paternity parties need to be aware that Oklahoma law that allows child support to be collected back to a maximum of two (2) years prior to filing the Paternity petition, and a two year statute of limitation to dispute paternal parentage based on birth certificates and acknowledgements of paternity.
Factors Affecting Custody and Visitation in Divorce and Paternity Cases
Factors that affect both legal and physical custody and visitation include:
- drug use,
- alcohol abuse,
- domestic (spousal) abuse,
- child abuse or child neglect,
- criminal activity, and
- financial stability.
Obtaining the appropriate evidence and presenting that evidence on each of the relevant matters above for the Court's review is key to having a successful case.